Journalism teacher gets Lifetime Achievement Award

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Photojournalism teacher and yearbook adviser Carole Babineaux will receive the International League Press Conference’s Edith Fox King Award Saturday night at the University of Texas in Austin.

The award, which is presented at the ILPC’s state convention, is a top honor received by advisers who have contributed greatly to scholastic journalism in the state.

She cares a tremendous amount for her students and that’s what I think makes any teacher a good teacher, first and foremost is caring about your students,”

— Wingspan adviser Brian Higgins

“I was shocked,” Babineaux said. “It’s incredible to be nominated and then receiving Edith Fox King, mostly because the nomination has to come from colleagues, people who have worked with you and know what you’ve done for the journalistic community and scholastic journalism in general. It’s very humbling because there are so many wonderful people out there, and to be one of the ones that receives it is pretty special.”

Despite Babineaux’s role as yearbook adviser, her career as a teacher has evolved since she was a journalist herself.

“I started as a journalist working on a daily newspaper, and then decided to go back to school to teach because journalism has always been something I loved,” Babineaux said. “I like teenagers so it worked out really well. I didn’t start teaching until I was in my forties, so my career was a little different because I had the career in journalism first, but it gave me that opportunity to combine the two things that I love so much.”

This marks Babineaux’s 29th year of teaching in schools all across the state of Texas.

“I’ve taught in East Texas in a town called Lindale,” Babineaux said. “I taught there for eight years and then I moved a few miles north up to Hawkins which is a really small and established  journalism program up there. I went down to Corpus Christi where I taught for nine years and taught journalism, photojournalism, yearbook, and newspaper in all of those schools. In 2006 I came to Frisco and opened the journalism here at Liberty when we were on the Fowler campus that first year and taught all of those subjects.”

Other than her expertise in journalism and photography, Babineaux has been characterized by her deep care for students, recognized by her colleagues and students alike.

“When you work with students in this type of class, you find out more about your students, you know who they really are as people,” Wingspan adviser Brian Higgins said. “For Ms. Babineaux, you can see that her students care for her a lot. She cares a tremendous amount for her students and that’s what I think makes any teacher a good teacher, first and foremost is caring about your students.”  

Many of Babineaux’s students such as sophomore Roy Nitzan feel the same way.

“Ms. B is an exceptional teacher in a way that she is always honest about our work and she always knows how to help us improve,” Nitzan said. “She showed me that if I need to get a shot that I do whatever it takes, even if it means that the other people take the camera out. She helped me be more confident in my work and has even helped me grow as a person.”

As a teacher, Babineaux has not only demonstrated her incredible ability to impact students, but to help her coworkers just the same.

“I’ve had the opportunity of working her for the last three years,” Higgins said. “She’s phenomenal, the dedication and time and effort she puts into working with her students is unrivaled. She’s been doing this for probably three times longer than I’ve been a teacher, and anytime I need advice, or suggestions, or want to run a thought by someone, she is absolutely my first person to go to.”

Throughout her career, Babineaux has been able to develop close relationships with students through her principles as a teacher.

“Just overall as an educator, my goal has been to provide a safe place for my kids, that they knew they could be comfortable coming into my classroom,” Babineaux said. “I think the biggest reward I have is when I see a student excel after high school. I’ve had students that just came in determined they weren’t going to like what they were doing, and they didn’t want to be in that class, and then turned out just to be enamored and had a real passion for photography.”

During her time on campus, her photojournalism classes have been touched by her significant appreciation for photography.

“I think what makes photography special is being able to stop time,” Babineaux said. “You capture something the moment it happened, and you capture it permanently, and we know that moment will never happen again. Just being able to save that memory permanently has always just made photography special to me. I’ve always loved the story elements of it which of course is the journalistic side too.”

I consider her to be a consummate professional educator, and she has made a significant, positive difference in the lives of countless students,”

— former colleague Catherine Iden

Babineaux was nominated by former colleague and close friend of three decades, Catherine Iden, now working for a yearbook production company.

“Ms. B. empowers her students to take control of the publication,” Iden said via email. “She guides them in finding and developing their creative talent, disciplines them to meet deadlines and insures understanding financial as well as editorial consequences. I consider her to be a consummate professional educator, and she has made a significant, positive difference in the lives of countless students.”

Saturday night offers an opportunity for Babineaux to be formally recognized for a career already acknowledged by those she touched.

“Ms. B. has overcome much during her life,” Iden said via email. “I am very proud of her professional career, but even more proud of her personal accomplishments. I short, Ms. B. possesses an illuminating soul. Her students shine in that light.”